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How the mind works still to be sure

Jennifer Denrow
You were the white field when you handed me a blank
sheet of paper and said you'd worked so hard
all day and this was the best field you could manage.
And when I didn't understand, you turned it over
and showed me how the field had bled through,
and then you took out your notebook and said how each
time you attempted to make something else, it turned out
to be the same field. You worried that everyone
you knew was becoming the field and you couldn't help
them because you were the one making them into fields
in the first place. It's not what you meant to happen.
You handed me a box of notebooks and left. I hung the field
all over the house. Now, when people come over, they think
they're lost and when I tell them they're not, they say they're
beginning to feel like the field and it's hard because they know
they shouldn't but they do and then they start to grow whiter
and whiter and then they disappear. With everyone turning
into fields, it's hard to know anything. With everyone turning
into fields, it's hard to be abstract. And since I'm mostly alone,
I just keep running my hand over the field, waiting.

Copyright © 2011 by Jennifer Denrow. Reprinted from California with the permission of Four Way Books. The title of this poem is taken from Samuel Beckett.

Copyright © 2011 by Jennifer Denrow. Reprinted from California with the permission of Four Way Books. The title of this poem is taken from Samuel Beckett.

Jennifer Denrow

by this poet

poem

The more I go, the harder it becomes to return. To anywhere. There is no one at the ocean this morning. I walked by the campsites and smelled eggs and pancakes. And there were sweet Oregon cherries and watermelon. I wonder if I can go back—what purpose there would be in it—or in any other thing?